Josh Hamilton has had long battle with addiction. He was suspended multiple times while he was coming up through the Tampa Bay Rays system. He was virtually out of baseball due to his addiction problems but cleaned himself up got back to the big leagues and won a MVP with the Texas Rangers. Now he has suffered another relapse, and faces punishment from Major League baseball that could include a lengthy suspension. However, is that what MLB should do?
The National Bureau of Economic Research says there is a “definite connection between mental illness and the use of addictive substances.” It is not known if Hamilton has been diagnosed with a mental illness but it seems that he is displaying the behaviors associated with a mental illness and an addiction problem. If that is the case suspension may not be able to fix the problem.
The MLB should punish Hamilton for violating an agreement he entered into with them and for violating the sports drug policies. However, cutting him off from the team and sport that gives him the structure he likely needs to successfully battle his addiction could be detrimental to his health.
The MLB has a chance not to punish addiction. They could have Hamilton do community out reach work both in Los Angeles where he plays and nationally where the MLB conducts business. He could speak to youth baseball organizations about the dangers of addiction as well, having a positive impact on himself and his community. Article Link…